(Oxnard, Calif.) – WBO and IBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev of Russia hosted a media workout at The Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California on Thursday, July 26, in preparation for his title defense against undefeated light heavyweight contender Eleider “Storm” Alvarez of Colombia at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday, August 4. The fight card will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:0 p.m. ET/PT.
Promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, Manager of the Year Egis Klimas, and trainer Abror Tursunpulatov also attended and spoke with boxing media.
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, WBO and IBA Light Heavyweight World Champion:
About his opponent, Eleider Alvarez: “It's a big test for me. He is very motivated. He's hungry for this fight and for a victory. He's undefeated. It's not an easy fight and I must be ready for what he will bring.”
“He's dangerous. I cannot say whether I can knock him out or get a victory by points. It's a good fight for the boxing fans. I never said that I don't want to fight this guy because he's very strong. I'm ready for everybody. As a champion, as a boxer, I'm ready for anybody.”
About the importance of this fight: “It's not the biggest fight in my life, but it's a big for me because it's the next chapter in my boxing career. Next time, it will be a harder opponent. He's undefeated, he's motivated, he's hungry. I should be ready for whatever he can bring.”
About his desire to unify the division: “I'm building right now in my mind, my head, my personal championship in my division. In this division, it's tough. We don't have the opportunity to make a Super Series (tournament) like Oleksandr Usyk. My congratulations to him and to his team. He's motivated me.
“We don't have a tournament series in this division. But in my head, I have a schedule of my tournament, my championship. I am driven to win this championship. I have a picture in my head, I see my goals and my championship win.”
“It's already started unofficially, between us. Because everybody wants to make unification fights I hope. Everyone who is a champion in the light heavyweight division wants to get all the belts together. We want to see who is first between us.”
About his preparation to face Eleider Alvarez: “I should prove I deserve to be champion. He is a good test for me. I saw a couple rounds in a couple of fights. I don't spend a long time on this. I see enough to get the style he has. But he will be fighting different because right now, he is getting in shape to fight me. I have a plan, what to do in my head. I have completed my strategy, I will be ready for everything he can bring and inside the ring, after the first or second round, I will make adaptations because I'll understand what I need to do.”
About his preparation for all his opponents: “If you come inside the ring, you should be ready for everything. For any situation, for any of his tactics. If you have only one plan for the fight, you will be losing, Be ready for an inside fight, outside fight, long distance, short distance, counter attack, anything.”
About his fifth camp training in Oxnard: “Here, there are a lot of guys who can help me with sparring sessions, It's close to the ocean with a fresh breeze. It's just your coach, your training. For me it is difficult to make training camp with family living at home. You always need to go somewhere, or my son wants me to play with him. Here it's training, nap, training, rest. I train on time, lay down on time, nap on time, and keep working.”
About working with trainer Abror Tursunpulatov: “we've been working together, we understand each other. He gives me the same boxing study since I was 11 years old. It's very comfortable. We speak I the same language, it's easy. I follow his exact instructions. Before this, I did it with all of my amateur experience to the pros. Before, it was enough. But I spent all that amateur baggage. Right now, I need the help of a coach, and Abror helps me.”
About what he's thinking during a fight: “In the ring, usually I don't hear anybody. I am focused on the fight and the plans from what we're doing right now in the gym with my coach. They are already inside of me. Sometimes, if you're in trouble, you can hear something. Sometimes you even hear advice from the public, the fans! Really. Maybe only three or four times in my experience, not here in America, but in Russia when I was an amateur. I understand myself, whether it was a good round or a bad round.”
About his future opponents: “I am fighting everybody who is ready to fight me, who is available at this point. I never had a choice; do I want this fight or this other guy to fight. Egis (Klimas) or Kathy (Duva) inform me, ‘your next opponent is Eleider Alvarez.' OK. It's new, I keep my head and prepare for this guy, because I should be better than him.”
“I don't think about this, who is next. Because I'm thinking right now about Alvarez. I don't want to spend time looking behind at this (watching his past fights). He's busy making plans for me.”
About opponents unwilling to face him: “It means they are not real champions. They are businessmen. Remember in the past, fighters like Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield, Diego Corrales, I respect these guys. It's sport. Guys, if you will fight like a real fighter, against everybody, everywhere, if you do your job, this is real boxing.”
About his desire to keep improving: “Some fights, I like myself. Some fights, I don't like myself – I mean my fights. I didn't like my last fight. I didn't like my performance. Right now, I am trying to delete these mistakes and do better every fight. Every fight, something happens. I thought I knew a lot, but something always happens new. I get a new experience from each fight and each preparation.”
About who he would like to face next: “I don't want speak about anybody except Alvarez. Right now, I have a fight with him and I respect this guy. I'm very happy God gave me this opportunity to get in with this guy to see who I am right now at this point. Who am I, me, myself. I don't go back. I only look forward. Maybe the one step back and two steps forward. I already did the one step back (laughs), and now only step forward.”
About his life changing visit to the Greek monastery one year ago: “I should visit there every year, for recharging mentally. Every man and every woman should be alone with his Spirit, his God, for two or three days a year. I mean, you should be with God always. But I went there four nights. It recharged me. I cleaned up my mind and body. You follow the prayers. It is a saintly place. I already miss it. Maybe if I have the opportunity this year, I will go again.”
About what the sport means to him: “It's not be my goal to be famous. I do this boxing not to be famous, not to be a star. I do this for myself. I love this, competing. I still live my life with interest. I travel a lot, I'm meeting people worldwide, I love it. I dreamed about this when I was young.”